At the Infant Vision Laboratory, University of Reading, we have studied the causes of many children’s vision problems for over 20 years. We have researched many aspects of visual development and how people keep their eyes lined up and focused for things at different distances. The technical words are “accommodation” (focusing) and “convergence” (keeping the eyes lined up).
We all use these processes to keep our eyes straight, and if they go wrong, it can lead to a squint, eye strain or double vision. Our particular interest is how accommodation and convergence work together. It sounds fairly simple, but it actually involves many different brain and eye systems all working and developing in parallel. Things can easily go wrong and children then need treatment from orthoptists, ophthalmologists and optometrists.
Our findings challenge some conventional theories and they highlight the need for a re-think of the underlying mechanisms. By understanding how things work better, we are making treatments more effective.